Channel NewsAsia

France eyes Airbus-Safran tie-up for launch rockets

European aerospace group Airbus and French rocket-maker Safran are looking at jointly making next-generation launch rockets to compete with US firm SpaceX, the French financial newspaper Les Echos said.

PARIS: European aerospace group Airbus and French rocket-maker Safran are looking at jointly making next-generation launch rockets to compete with US firm SpaceX, the French financial newspaper Les Echos said on Sunday in a report on its website.

Airbus chief Tom Enders and Safran boss Jean-Paul Herteman are to meet French President Francois Hollande in Paris early Monday, after which a deal is expected to be announced for their companies to jointly manufacture Europe's Ariane 6 rockets, Les Echos said.

The deal was being made because, "despite proven reliability, Ariane suffers from an overly fragmented industrial organisation... that badly hurts its competitiveness" while Space X "works in a totally integrated fashion", Los Echos reported.

The Ariane 6 rockets are designed to put single payloads into orbit and are to be cheaper than the heavier and bigger Ariane 5 rockets currently used, which carry two satellites at once.

SpaceX, a private US company, already sends up smaller, cheaper launch rockets and is steadily taking over some launches that NASA used to handle.

Tweet photos, videos and updates on this story to  @channelnewsasia